Two independent airborne dual-wavelength techniques, based on nadir measurements of radar reflectivity factors and Doppler velocities, respectively, are investigated with respect to their capability of estimating microphysical properties of hydrometeors. The data used to investigate the methods are taken from the ER-2 Doppler radar (X-band) and cloud radar system (W-band) airborne Doppler radars during the Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus Layers-Florida Area Cirrus Experiment campaign in 2002. Validity is assessed by the degree to which the methods produce consistent retrievals of the microphysics. For deriving snow parameters, the reflectivity-based technique has a clear advantage over the Doppler-velocity-based approach because of the large dynamic range in the dual- frequency ratio (DFR) with respect to the median diameter D0 and the fact that the difference in mean Doppler velocity at the two frequencies, i.e., the differential Doppler velocity (DDV), in snow is small relative to the measurement errors and is often not uniquely related to D0. The DFR and DDV can also be used to independently derive D0 in rain. At W-band, the DFR-based algorithms are highly sensitive to attenuation from rain, cloud water, and water vapor. Thus, the retrieval algorithms depend on various assumptions regarding these components, whereas the DDV-based approach is unaffected by attenuation. In view of the difficulties and ambiguities associated with the attenuation correction at W-band, the DDV approach in rain is more straightforward and potentially more accurate than the DFR method.